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1940 Negro League Stars Signed Ball Including Jud Wilson and Ray Brown
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $3,770.00
This Official American Association ball has been signed in black ink by fourteen Negro League stars including newly elected Hall of Famers Jud Wilson ("8") and Ray Brown ("6"). This is a simply incredible signed baseball of extraordinary significance. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only baseball known to exist that is signed by Jud Wilson, and one of only two baseballs known to exist that is signed by Ray Brown. The fact that both Hall of Famers have signed this ball is all the more extraordinary. Jud Wilson's signature is exceedingly rare, with fewer than ten examples of any kind (possibly as few as five) currently known to exist. Wilson has signed the ball on a side panel. He has scripted his first name and printed his surname, which was not an uncommon practice by Negro League players during the era. (In fact, four players have signed their names in printed letters in whole or part on this ball.) The signature of Ray Brown is similarly rare. We believe that no more than ten signature examples of Ray Brown are known. Brown, one of the league's top pitchers, has penned his name on the side panel directly opposite of the panel bearing Wilson's signature. The remaining players are George Scales (an outstanding hitter for a number of top clubs), Terris McDuffie, Norman "Jelly" Jackson, Johnny Taylor, Olan Taylor, Vic Harris, Larry Brown, E. Joyce, E. Adams and three others (illegible). In addition to the fourteen ballplayers, the ball is also signed by singer/actor Paul Robeson, tap dancing legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Hall of Fame boxer Henry Armstrong. The date "Sept 8th 1940" is printed above the ball label. This ball was most likely signed at a Negro League All-Star or barnstorming game, which would account for the inclusion of the Robeson, Robinson, and Armstrong signatures. Interestingly, Robeson and Robinson (two of the most influential black entertainers of their time) were both later called upon by Branch Rickey for advice with regard to Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball. This is an extraordinary Negro League signed ball and almost certainly the only ball we will ever see bearing the signatures of Jud Wilson and Ray Brown. The signatures range in grade from "5" to "8" and the ball is moderately toned. A light coating of protective shellac has been applied to the ball, to which there are a few minor chips. Very Good to Excellent condition. LOAs from James Spence/JSA and Steve Grad, Mike Gutierrez & Zach Rullo/PSA DNA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,770.00
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